10 - Grow Live - SMS Octoberfest Pt. 1 - Marketing Manager to Marketing Manager Straight Talk Roundtable.jpg

 

As a marketing manager, you’re likely wearing many hats throughout the day. Whether you work for an agency or are a lone wolf for your company—it can be challenging. Today, Renia sits down with Senior Marketing Manager at Safety Marketing Services, Will Polliard. They tackle the biggest pain points that marketing managers often experience and discuss creative solutions that work.

Watch, listen or read now and learn more about:

  • How to manage stress, emails, meetings
  • Prioritizing, juggling and executing  tasks
  • Helpful tips for time management (and why email is a time suck)
  • Motivating podcasts and tools for success (check out Habit Journal!)
  • The ‘Pilot’s Checklist’ and how to make your job easier
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries on your availability

  “What’s the one thing I can do today that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”—Renia Carsillo, SMS Director of Digital Strategy.

If you often feel overwhelmed from your to-do list, you’re not alone. Don’t worry, there are strategies you can use today to increase productivity and decrease stress. You won’t want to miss the SMS team share top-secret tips and hacks that are guaranteed to make your life easier. Are you ready to grow?  

 

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Read the Grow Live transcript...

Will:

Sounds good.

Renia:

Hey, welcome back. We are back in the studio, everybody. Welcome to Grow Live. Believe it or not, we have finally hit double digits. It's episode 10. I am Renia, the Director of Client Services. I've had a title change at Safety Marketing Services. We've invited Will. You guys remember, Will, our Senior Marketing Manager.

Will:

At Safety Marketing Services as well.

Renia:

Yes, we are at the same company. That is true. To join us again today. Matt is out conquering the world again this week. We will back in studio together in two weeks, I think. We wanted to come and talk to you today. Last week, we were talking to you from Inbound and from NSC. The week before that, if you remember, we invited Luke, our graphic designer and to talk to us about working with graphic designers.

 

One of the things that we thought after talking to Luke is that we thought we maybe should talk about what it's like to be a marketing manager and what some of the hurdles that we run into as marketing managers, what some of you might run into and how we overcome them, how we learn to work between clients or for you guys to work between your sales team, and your other marketing teams, and your CEO, and stuff like that, and how we navigate a lot of experiences that if you're not a marketing manager, might feel really lonely.

 

If you have missed any of the past episodes, you can find them to play back on YouTube or at growwithsms.com/resources. They're all there for you, transcripts, podcasts, YouTube. However you consume your content, there it is for you. Welcome back, Will.

Will:

Thanks for having me. I get excited when you invite me on for this. This is good.

Renia:

Awesome. Will has been a marketing manager for a while and I guess we should probably kick it off by saying what do you think the biggest challenge is for a marketing manager. Let’s get deep right off the bat.

Will:

Probably just managing the stress and learning how to prioritize all different things coming at you, and really just aggregating that and being able to function, honestly, because being a marketing manager- especially at an agency- you have clients, and we have internal initiatives, and just really juggling all these things coming at you, and not being able to execute can be quite a challenge, and it takes some getting used to.

Renia:

I think that's definitely true. We just dived into, here at SMS, you guys, it's fourth quarter, right? Monday we hit the first day of fourth quarter. What that means is we're inside the final 100 days of 2017. You know how it goes in fourth quarter, like, the pressure gets real. We're all coming out the summer and we're like, "How are we going to hit these goals for the year?" We are lucky at SMS that we have three marketing managers, plus me who get to share some things back and forth. I think a lot of our audience are probably themselves or possibly one other marketing manager out there trying to do it. Can you give them some tips for how you manage that stress?

Will:

Honestly, I listen to a lot of productivity podcast and just self-improvement type of content for business professionals, and try and pull tips from people that are already succeeding, and emulate what they do. One of the big things I think is just figuring out whatever system works for you but figuring out what that system is for prioritizing your work and not worrying about the urgent fires but really knocking out the important big task that are going to move you forward instead of getting caught up in the minutia, and just the busy work.

Renia:

That's totally true. You said you listened to some podcasts. That's one thing. What's your favorites?

Will:

My favorite podcast. The Tim Ferriss Show. A fantastic podcast especially it's just life tips that you can apply inside work and outside work, fantastic stuff. I also really like The Journal by Kevin Rose. That's fantastic one as well. I love Gary Vaynerchuk. The Gary Vaynerchuk Audio Experience for a little motivation.

Renia:

Disclosure, if you are sensitive to …

Will:

Profanity.

Renia:

… profanity, Gary Vee is not your thing but otherwise, I highly recommend Gary Vee.

Will:

It's just like high energy, positive thoughts and lots of rants, but it's good. He's smart.

Renia:

I really like him too. Tim Ferriss has a lot of really good tips. In fact, his last book the “Tools of Titans”, that's a compilation of a bunch of his podcast. There is gold in there for marketing managers for how to manage your time and decide what the most important things are to do. There's 150 pages that are all just on time management stuff.

Will:

He's really good. Actually, what I've started implementing, that's been super helpful. I grab from him. Other people implement it as well, but basically when you start your day, before you get going and checking your emails and doing all the things that are coming at you, take in 10 minutes to sit down and write out the five most important things that are on your plate, and then boiling that down to the top one or two most important tasks that once you achieve those tasks, might make the other tasks obsolete or help you accomplish those as well so super helpful stuff and I find it useful.

Renia:

That's really good. I even myself use a “best self” journal to do the same thing to write down my top three for the day. Then out of those top three, I always choose what's the one thing? This comes from Gary something. I can't remember what his name is. The book is called “The One Thing”. It's what is the one thing that if I do this today, it will make everything else easier or unnecessary? That's what I'm always trying for is that one thing.

Will:

It's super helpful.

Renia:

We've been doing a lot of discussing about this around the office. We have a big board up right now. We're implementing Agile. Some people call it Scrum Methodology. We have a big board up with a bunch of post-it notes and we're all jotting down our tasks and learning about breaking down tasks. Do you have any advice for people that has worked for you over the years for a marketing manager how to break those tasks down?

Will:

Yeah. Really, I don't mean to be vague, but it depends on what you're doing. With us, with marketing services, breaking down a blog or a website redesign, things like that we could dive in to, but really I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to just create those processes and those action items upfront like if you don't have them now, you should go do that before you do anything else, and figure out what it is that you offer, and what are some manageable chunks that makes sense like break those bigger task down into, and really establish a process of doing things. Once you get that, I mean that varies depending on what you're doing. Once you have that, then I mean you can use Agile, Scrum, whatever management system you want to use but that's really, I think the key productivity tip for that.

Renia:

You're probably in one of two situations. If you're a marketing manager at a large enough company to have more than one, then you're probably working with teams and some of your biggest pain points may be figuring out how to manage that team structure. If you're a lone wolf marketing manager like you're the only one at a company, a lot of it is how do you manage yourself. We can tend to not get those processes laid down because I'm the one doing it. What’s the purpose of this, right?

Will:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Renia:

How does it help you when you're the only one doing it over and over again to have those laid out?

Will:

I think it gives you a clear start and finish line which is super important. Then also just having that laid out. It's a good way to stay organized, I suppose as well.

Renia:

I actually learned this from a pilot so our office is, fun fact, we're here in Brooksville. We've talked about this for a couple of times. We're actually right on an airstrip. There are a lot of business owners in this area or some of the slightly wealthier among us that are pilots or amateur pilots and they talk about when you go to pilot school, you learn about this checklist. It doesn't matter if you are a pilot for 35 years or six months. You always have to go through this checklist before you take off every single time. The purpose of that checklist is not because you don't know, if you've been a pilot for 30 years, hopefully you know, but when we're busy and we’ve got stuff going through our minds and we're human, we do forget things.

Will:

Sorry. I lost my thought there, but you triggered it. Once you establish those processes, you can basically template things which is exactly what you're saying and it's basically you have your checklist, your guidelines, whatever you want to call it but you can replicate so much faster and more efficiently once you have that process established. You can go back and do the same thing over and over and get faster overtime, and better.

Renia:

Absolutely. Any of us that are really growing we're trying to work ourselves out of a job. We're trying to grow ourselves into whatever the next level is for us. I'm trying to work myself into the next level and hopefully, on the other side, work well maybe into my job. That requires that we lay some foundations down for the next person because, at least, I have encountered a lot of marketing managers that they want move on or they want to go to do the next thing or they want to do something new, but they can't because nobody knows how to do all these pieces of the thing that they do, right?

Will:

Yeah.

Renia:

It keeps you trapped. Sometimes we feel like that's a security blanket but most of the time it's not a blanket. It's more like a fence.

Will:

It's holding you back.

Renia:

Cool. What about working with production teams? I know you do both. You've worked with freelancers outside, you work with people inside. I think most of our marketing managers are doing similar things. Do you have any advice for people about working with their teams?

Will:

Yeah. Back to it, I think processes are super important but aside from that, what I find really useful and actually Scrum implements this like the daily huddle. Communication is what I'm getting at but a super useful tip that we're starting to implement is this daily huddle concept where every day first thing during the day, you have 10 to 15-minute meeting and some people do the standup meetings. Instead of sitting down, you perform the meeting standing up. You don't want to stand up for a long time so it helps the meeting be a little more efficient.

Renia:

Unless you're being asked all day.

Will:

Yeah, that's true. Just recapping like, "What did I do yesterday? What am I doing today? What kind of obstacles are in my way and blocking me from achieving my goals. I think doing that as a team and just getting everything out in the open and communicating on a daily basis, super, super helpful.

Renia:

Will is like giving away the punch line of what we're doing next because right now, we are actually in the process of learning how to gather all our tasks together, organize them and prioritize them but the next step of that once you have that idea down is to be accountable to what you're going to do every day. That's super important.

Will:

For me, I really like to just write down what I'm working on so I can remember and look back on. For me writing down things works well. You can type it out in the Google Doc or whatever software you use but whether it's digitally or physically like having that stuff, getting that stuff out of your brain and on to some sort of canvas, super helpful as well.

Renia:

I don't write it all down other than my top three. I use a combination of Todoist for individual tasks. There's a free version or the pro version is $50 a year and it's designed specifically to go with Agile methodology. I haven't been doing that forever but I've been using Todoist forever. I love it. It rings my Apple Watch and my computer, and my phone. It's like to do this task, do this task, do this task. Then Kevin Rose actually in one of his podcasts recommends Habit Journal which is anything that is a daily thing that you need to do every single day, you just line those all up in there and then you check them off as they go and it will actually track for you overtime whether or not you did it. You can see how productive you are overtime.

Will:

That brings up another useful thing both in personal and professional life is routine having a set way of doing everything. Every morning, maybe you come in and you have your 10-minute huddle meeting, get on the same page with your team and then maybe dedicate the next three hours to just straight work. Shut off email, shut of all distractions and do your work and then maybe 11:30. Then you have a 15, 30-minute email check-in, lunch, go back. You batch another few hours of work and then maybe check your email again at the end of the day and just get in that routine, that habit I think is super helpful. It keeps you from always being scattered and going towards whatever the shiny urgent thing is at the moment. It keeps you more focused.

Renia:

I really like that. I think it's really hard. I think you probably agree with me here that marketing manager is one of the things that we all struggle with the most is balancing the actual productive work versus answering emails and responding to messages.

Will:

I'm sure whether you're work at, like us, an agency or if you're working for your company as a supplier or distributor. Everyone gets bombarded by emails and all of these little fires that you have to put out. If you just pay attention to those and just let those grab your attention all day, the next thing you'll know, six seven, eight hours will pass by and you're like what did I really achieve today? How did I move the ball forward? Personally, I try to check my email twice a day and batch that. Give myself 15 to 30 minutes to just respond to everything all at once and then email is done. I can go back and do some productive work.

Renia:

I love that. You want to know a secret?

Will:

Yeah. I like secrets.

Renia:

Before I came to work for SMS, I only checked my emails once a week.

Will:

Wow.

Renia:

Tim Ferriss taught me this way back in The 4-Hour Workweek days when that one first came out and nobody knew who he was. He talks about putting an autoresponder on your email. We actually use a version of it here at SMS. A lot of us is saying that we'll check our email two or three times a day because that's the expectation that a lot of our clients have. Email is not productive for most of us. It's busy work. You condition your CEO, you condition your director of sales, you condition your client that you're constantly responsive.

 

I know I've made this mistake a lot like I respond to a client on the weekend and now I'm stuck talking to that client on the weekend all the time versus you use an autoresponder to set a clear expectation about when you are available and some clients, it'll upset them a little bit, it'll piss them off but most clients will respect those boundaries. The way, I've shut down even the couple that didn't like it, was I was like, "I am here with you now giving you my full attention because I do this." We really want you to think about how you can create that boundary for yourself. Will is really good about following a routine. He'll sit in the office with his headphones on when he's really getting into it, right?

Will:

Yeah. Definitely that helps me a lot. We have an open office environment. I don't know how many of you have that, but it can be distracting so the way I combat that is I have over the ear studio headphones that block out a lot of outside noise and really help me focus.

Renia:

I don't do that because my role in the office is to be accessible to everyone so I don't want to send that message to people so what I do instead is when I really have to grind, I actually pick up and I go into the conference room or I go work at the house or I get offsite. Whatever you need to do that works for you, I think as a marketing manager, I would love to throw down the challenge to people that you should be producing something new at least once a day even if it's a small thing like a social media post or an email or something new at least once a day because if all you're doing is intake all the time, we're not really creating that value, right?

Will:

For sure. I think something that I'm starting to implement more and I'm finding quite useful is when we get in for the day, very often I feel like I use to do this all the time. I would want to settle in and can warm up to the day so let's write out what I have to do, check some email and then start to do some easier tasks first that were important. What I'm finding is actually doing the reverse. Doing my harder tasks early in the day when my brain is fresh and I'm just full of energy and ready to rock and roll, I'll just dive in right into the hardest stuff first, super helpful.

Renia:

It's the Brian Tracy thing that “Eat the Frog”?

Will:

I don't know what means.

Renia:

I'm old. Back in the day like in the mid-90s or something, the original self-help … Not the original, the one of the original self-help guys, Brian Tracy. Do you know who that guy is?

Will:

Yeah.

Renia:

At least we know who he is. I'm not that old. Brian Tracy had a book called “Eat the Frog” and he's like, "If you're going to eat a frog, you just have to pick it up and eat it. You don't want to stare at it all day," right?

Will:

Yeah. That makes sense. I think too actually off that, going back to email, big productivity sucker, I guess. I used to have a tendency. I'd get an email and I would think it would require a pretty in-depth response. I'd have to look into that a little bit maybe go reach out to somebody else. I'm like, "Man, it’s going to take me a while." I'd open the email and then be like, "I got to do that later and move on to something else. Actually, what I'm finding that is useful is even if you have one of those emails, it's going to take some time to follow-up with.

 

Just sending a quick response like, "Hey, thanks for the email. I got to look into this a little bit further. I'll get back with you later," and just doing that quick response and acknowledging to that person, "Hey, I got it and I'm on it. It's just going to take a little bit of time." It's actually good. It reduces cognitive overhead that I had because I use to just keep all the stuff in your head all the time and then you're like it just messes up the focus and energy levels and everything. Just sending quick, "Hey, I'll get back to you on this a little bit later," it helps me out so hopefully it can help you out too.

Renia:

Email is not a to-do list, it is a very ineffective task management tool. I think a lot of us leave lots of things sitting in our email as building up the to-do list where it's actually really ineffective for task management.

Will:

Before we move because we're talking about managing teams and things like that, one other thing that is super useful would be leveraging your calendar or if you have a project management software. As soon as something comes up that you have to assign to whether an internal, external team, get the meeting on the books ASAP. Give those people a heads up or give them the resources as soon as possible so they have some time as well because just dropping things on your team last minute and having them trying to put fires is really like we don't want to do this as marketing managers but we don’t want to put our teammates in the same predicament so giving them the courtesy of scheduling things out, give them a couple days heads up, things like that, I think really help teamwork and productivity as a whole.

Renia:

I really like that. I live by my calendar and I say no with my calendar by having things on the schedule. I have production time on the schedule so that when people go to put a meeting on with me, they have to look really hard for an open spot which is purposeful because I have a lot of stuff to do and a lot of people that want meetings. By making them have to look really hard, it suddenly makes them have to second-guess whether or not they actually need me in this meeting.

 

The other thing is if you're committing to going to a meeting, it's not just the meeting, you need prep time. Maybe you need drive time, you need time to respond afterwards. If you only put the meeting on your calendar, you're constantly squeezing yourself. What I have started doing is I'll put the meeting and then I put the prep time and whatever I think the response time is going to be. If I can’t give that, I won't go.

 

I'm a training queen too. I love to buy training classes. I have millions of them that I bought sitting that I'm never going to be able to do them all right. Now, to stop that, instead of buying all these training classes, I say, "First, before I buy it, go to my calendar. Can I put in the time to do the training and then can I put in the time to implement the training?"

Will:

Nice.

Renia:

If I can’t, I don't …

Will:

Don't do it.

Renia:

… do it.

Will:

Makes sense. You talk about meetings and that's actually another thing that I think especially for marketing managers and probably even sales professionals, CEOs and everyone, work doesn't get done in meetings to just review work that's been complete or plan upcoming work. I think so often we get in these traps where our meetings run way longer than they need to and then that's taken away useful time where we could actually be getting things done. Just trying to be aware of that on your day to day work activity is like is this actually a productive meeting? Do we actually even need this meeting at all? Can we cut this meeting in half? Agendas are quite useful, if you don't have meeting agendas.

Renia:

A secret about that?

Will:

Yeah, sure.

Renia:

About agendas. This is coming to SMS, but they don't know yet. I have decided-

Will:

News flash.

Renia:

Yeah, newsflash. I'm going to stop showing up for meetings that don’t have agendas.

Will:

Nice.

Renia:

We were at Inbound last week. That's one of the agency owners, one of his tips for getting meetings under control in your office that I just love. He said, "If I don't get an agenda in advance, I don't show up for the meeting."

Will:

Makes sense.

Renia:

I think we're going to implement that.

Will:

If I don’t have an agenda in a meeting, it's weird. I don't know what to do because having those guidelines, it makes everything flow.

Renia:

That's a great way to … I know some of our marketing managers is like this is great for you guys. It sounds like you guys do whatever you want to at your office, but what happens if you're working inside of a team where maybe there are strict rules or you have to be … You're at the mercy of somebody else? How do you implement some of this stuff up the food chain?

Will:

I don't know. You're better to answer this one. Anytime I have an idea that I think is useful and is going to benefit the team, I present it to you and Matt. I'm like, "Hey, take this awesome idea and research this a little bit. Here's what I know about it." Just see if you want to implement this through the team and take all the credit. Just run with it. I think it could really help us out. I'm pretty transparent and open communication with that sort of stuff. If I find something useful, I'll just hand it over to you as you know.

Renia:

That is actually one of the reasons why we're implementing some of the agile strategies is because Will is like, "Yeah, I know. You've got this thing but you really need to do this. We really need to do this. We really need to do this." Until I'm like, "Fine, I’ll go look about this."

Will:

She gave in.

Renia:

I did give in. It's awesome so congratulations to Will. I don’t need the credit. What I found to be useful, every success I've ever had in a job has been because I'm really good at making my boss look good. Matt, love you, if you're watching us. I feel like my entire job is to make my boss's life easier. If you're trying to manage something up, it's not about why it would help for you, it's about what it would help for them.

 

You're not doing it to get credit yourself. If you want the credit for it, you will probably fail especially if you're working with the CEO because the reality of most CEOs is that they are CEOs because they are visionaries and they like control. They don't want to be told what to do especially not by their marketing manager if you're 10 steps down the food chain but that doesn't mean you can't manage something up to them if you figure out what their pain is around this because if it's causing you pain, guess what, it's probably causing them pain too.

Will:

Absolutely.

Renia:

Their pain is going to feel different from yours. Say, you need a tool. Maybe, it's your responsibility to manage all the social media channels for your office and it would be a lot easier if you had an automation tool. I really like HubSpot or if you're not going all the way to HubSpot, MeetEdgar. You're like, "I really want this tool. How am I going to convince my boss to spend … " MeetEdgar would be $1,200 a year. It's not that much money but it's money, right?

Will:

Absolutely.

Renia:

How am I going to convince my boss to do this? What's the pain that they're feeling? What do you see most of your clients when you're talking to them about social media? What's causing them pain?

Will:

Whether they don’t know how to use it correctly or they don't have time for it, probably be the two main things.

Renia:

They don't have time. They don't know how to use it correctly and because they don't have time and they're not using it correctly, they don't see it as effective. It's a like a lot of the digital tools. The reason why they're not seen as effective is not because they're not effective, it's because we suck at using them, right?

Will:

Yeah. You're right. If you don't understand what the tool is trying to achieve then you're not going to see value in it.

Renia:

Your boss' pain isn’t trying to get everything scheduled, your boss's pain is that he or she is paying you to do this thing that they don’t really see any value in. They don't think it's making money. If you can translate to them instead of it would make things easier for me, here's how using this would make more money for the company. Then you've got them. Bonus points if you can make them feel like it's their idea like say you can find an article on a blog for MeetEdgar about how using their tool improves our ROI and you shoot that article over like, "Hey, here's this tool about improving ROI with social media." It just happens to be on the platform of the tool that you really want to use. That does a lot to help … It look like it's their idea.

Will:

Yeah, definitely. You talked about matching the solution to your boss' pain points. It ties back into everything that we're doing like trying to attract new customers to the business. We're trying to identify their pain points and give them solutions. It's the same exact thing.

Renia:

Exactly. If you're a marketing manager inside a decent size organization, I want you to think of your bosses like your clients. All the things that we would do with a client, uncovering their pain points, and figuring out what their needs are, and stuff like that, that's really what you're doing with your bosses if you're trying to be successful for your organization or move yourself into a new role or something like that is proving that you can solve their problems. I think it’s a lot easier for us to feel like this is the pain I'm feeling and don’t you see my pain.

Will:

It's about them.

Renia:

What about working as the middle man? The marketing manager is a middle man or a middle woman a lot of the time between production people and a client or a CEO or a boss. No matter where you are. You are that middle person. How do you navigate that tension between the two sides?

Will:

That's an interesting question. From my perspective, talking to the client who basically conceptualize an idea that's going to help us achieve whatever that client's business goal. I propose this campaign over the next three months to help you meet these objectives and then they approve or we got to rework the idea. Then basically it's up to me as the marketing manager, the middle person. Cool. They said the idea was good to go. Now, I need to go ahead and map this project out into little chunks that I can assign out to the different content creators.

 

Just trying to be really organized through that and really just setting the goal like hey I need you to create this and this is why and giving people a ton of reasonable deadlines to achieve that kind of like how I go about it. Do you have something else to say there?

Renia:

No. I think that's a great start. I think that what Will said that's really important is clarity about deadlines and breaking things into reasonable manageable chunks. That's one of the big tools or one of the big roles of a marketing manager. It's actually not easy to do. Not everybody can do that for themselves, right?

Will:

Yeah, I guess not. I mean it takes practice, I know. I've been doing this for a while. Just like anything really. The more you practice it, the better you get overtime. I've definitely noticed though from trying to be really aware and cognizant about improving on this, I get better. I've definitely improve overtime.

Renia:

One of the things that I think we’re learning at SMS that I used to do a lot of and it's new bringing it into an agency setting is getting things that your client can test and give feedback on as fast as possible. If you are a marketing manager inside of a company and your CEO is asking you to prepare for a trade show, we just got through NSC. Maybe it's your job to get ready for NSC next year. If you can get something to them, if they can actually make some kind of feedback on as quickly as possible, whether it's a sketch about what the booth is going to look like or it's a concepts design. Not the actual booth itself but this the a story we want to tell. You can start getting feedback a piece at a time. You're much more likely to hit the end goal, right?

Will:

Yeah, definitely. I think to that, when you're breaking your project down into bite-sized chunks, you have to be … How you do that? You have to be very aware of what you're trying to achieve. It's like you want to break it down small enough so it's easy, easy to get approval and feedback and all that sort of stuff. You don't take too long on one specific thing but then you need to make it large enough for it's actually making a significant impact on the products of the project. It's something to be aware of, for sure.

Renia:

That's a great point. You'll learn exactly where that is on any given project as you try things because every organization is slightly different when it comes to that. Like we were telling you when we were talking about working with designers, if you're handing something off to a designer, you really need to give them really clear expectations. That is why we recommend that you have some kind of an intake form when things are being assigned to you.

 

A list of questions. I have to get ready for this trade show. What's my intake form for that? What's my questioning of all the things I need to get my CEO or my sales director, whoever to answer so that I can properly prepare for this? Think of it like your marketing manager brief. We told you have a graphic design brief, we told you a few weeks ago to have a copy brief. You should really have a marketing manager brief too that is all the questions that you need answered in order for you to go and work on that project.

Will:

Absolutely.

Renia:

It's sometimes difficult to be the person that holds all of the keys but maybe doesn't open all the doors. What is your favorite thing? We’ve talked about some of the holes but what's your favorite thing being a marketing manager?

Will:

For me honestly, I like to just create things and just get my hands dirty a little bit. For me, it's just actually doing some tangible, deliverable type of work. What about you?

Renia:

That's interesting because I feel like that's one of those roles that there's so much of it that's in tangible.

Will:

I know. It's interesting.

Renia:

It is interesting.

Will:

That's my favorite part for sure.

Renia:

Cool. I like the problem solving. That's why I like figuring out how to make things work. The tinkering and the problem solving. I think of pretty much everything we do for a customer is like a puzzle where all the pieces are the same color and there are no corners. We have to figure out how it all fits together to make the picture. It's like a picture of marbles or something. It's not a nice easy landscape but that tinkering is my favorite thing.

Will:

Nice. Maybe that's why I like actually the creation side of things because once you have the idea like it's awesome but it's only in your head or on this piece of paper and it's just a concept at that point but when you maybe add the last email to your email work flow or whatever, whatever the concept is and it's like now, it's ready to share this vision with the world. I think it's super gratifying

Renia:

Pitch day is my favorite day of the campaign where I'm like this is the thing that we think you should do. That's my thing. That would be another question for you. Are you a starter or a finisher?

Will:

That's interesting. Probably a starter. I'm a starter.

Renia:

I think a lot of marketing managers are. It's important to know when we say a starter, a finisher, we mean do you get really jazzed and really excited about starting a project or finishing it? Most people are one or the other or lean one way or the other meaning they really like kicking things off or they really like the satisfaction of finishing things. It's important to know which one you are because you're going to need help on the other side. I am a starter.

 

If you've ever seen the Clifton StrengthsFinder which I'm totally obsessed with, my number one strength is activator. I am really good at getting these going. Really good at getting people off their butts and getting things moving but finishing is tough for me because my energy fizzles out. I'm like, "Hey, everybody is going," whatever. Then I'm just like, "On to the next thing." Knowing which one you are will help you to close that hap because as a marketing manager, every project you do has to finish. How many of you feel like you have all these things hanging out there that need to be accomplished? I have to have a finisher in my life in order for that to workout. You think you're a starter or finisher?

Will:

I'd say I'm a starter.

Renia:

You're a starter?

Will:

You brought up a good point with having so many things going on at once and especially as a marketing manager, I feel like we bear this burden a lot. I learned this the hard way because I would try to have my hand in all these different pots and get all these projects going at the same time. I could start them. That was awesome but finishing them when you're spread so thin was really difficult and really through prioritization and just really trying to tackle one big problem at a time instead of trying to we can do these four things simultaneously. No. You can't. Really just honing in on one thing at a time has been super, super helpful for my productivity levels and just really success marketing, success in general.

Renia:

That's a good point because we’ve talked about a lot of different things over the last 10 weeks, right?

Will:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Renia:

We've talked about copywriting initiatives. We've talked about eCommerce, of changes. We've talked about SEO. We've talked about working with graphic designers. We've talked about learning to work with your sales team, lots of different topics. If you're a marketing manager out there, you shouldn't start on one of those every week.

Will:

I would say, no. I would say you can start on one, maybe two tops but I highly recommend just one. Just planning that out and having a clear focus and then seeing that through start to finish and then moving on to the next one.

Renia:

If you have a marketing degree, if you have been in marketing very much at all, we talk about target market constantly knowing exactly who it is that you're going after. The same thing is true with your projects like you need one baby at a time. For all you parents out there, one baby is hard enough. What happens when you have the second one? If you have them in close proximity the third. Lord help you if you have triplets. It just becomes progressively harder and the same thing is true with your work. If you're trying to run three, or four, or five big initiatives at once, you're probably not going to be very successful. It's figuring out which one is important to you and that's tough. That's tough for me, it's tough for Will.

Will:

Yeah, for sure.

Renia:

It's maybe doing what we're doing right now and standing at board and looking at everything side by side and saying what is the most important thing today? What is the most important thing this week, this year, this decade?

Will:

I think if you're looking at the 10 topics we talked about in the show thus far, and you're excited and want to implement all of them, I think it's worth the planning, is worth the initial time upfront. Really sitting down whatever stakeholders you need to make these decisions on which initiatives to pursue. Sitting them down and really taking a hard look at what's the most valuable thing that we need to do right now to move us forward and really just boiling it down to the top thing and then prioritizing everything underneath that and say, "Cool. We all agree this is the most important thing so we're going to start it and we're not going to start anything else until we finish what we started. "

Renia:

Absolutely. That's a hallelujah style, absolutely. I would say this right now, it's the beginning of the fourth quarter. It's early October. Whether you have a CMO above you or if you're working directly with your CEO, this would be the time if they have not said anything to you yet about strategic planning for 2018. This would be the time to start putting that bug in their ear. It's time for strategic planning because what happens to a lot of companies is they don't think about it until December and then it’s really hard to get it done with the holidays and the traveling and the whatever. They end up not doing it until the end of January and by the time they start implementing it, the year is half over.

Will:

You're already getting off on the wrong foot.

Renia:

It's the time to start thinking about your plan because if you were at NSC last week, I'm sure at least 80% of the marketing managers that were at NSC or sending companies to NSC, we're thinking, "Next year, I am going to start getting ready for this five months earlier." The reason that doesn't happen is because you haven't laid out that plan that says what are the big initiatives and what are the things that need to be started each month.

 

You don't start on it until it's imminent. One of the things that we have for all our clients and I recommend you guys have for all your projects is a calendar that I manage for everybody that keeps all of the projects and when they go into their next cycles all laid out for everybody. That helps us to know when we have to start getting ready for the next project. I highly recommend working with your CEO to start getting in line strategic planning for the year and if you can't get in line for the whole company, at least start working in your strategic marketing plan, right?

Will:

Yeah, absolutely. You got to follow through. Even the perfect plan with no execution isn’t worth anything. You got to make sure you create a plan that you believe in and stay the course.

Renia:

That's actually one of my favorite things to do. If you need help with your strategic planning especially your marketing plan, we're happy to help you with that. This is the time to start looking at that and follow through absolutely. A big part of follow through is figuring out what the reward is. That's the other fun thing you can do. When you figure out what you're going to do, you set yourself up some rewards. Do you do that personally?

Will:

Actually, no. I picked up one of those “best self” journals that you mentioned and there's a 13-week roadmap in there or basically you said you run your life like a quarterly kind of sprint, you set your goals, et cetera. Once you lay out the goal, there's actually a slide in there for once I achieve this goal, what will be my reward? That’s a really new concept for me so actually that's blank at the moment, but I like that. It's cool because it gives you something to look forward to at the finish line.

Renia:

I work on rewards so I take … I'm not a stuff person, I'm an experience person so I take quarterly trips and there's always some kind of a reward like if I achieve this goal for the quarter, or whatever, I get to go on this trip or I get to go to this thing. I'm going in a couple of weeks to see Tony Robbins which was my reward for what I did last quarter.

Will:

Nice. From a business perspective, as a marketing manager, usually we are reverse engineering what the business is trying to achieve in sales and marketing. I guess our reward is, "Oh, if we create this plan and execute on it properly, we're going to generate 100 additional leads which should translate into X amount of revenue," so that's our reward, I guess, at least how I've looked at it so far on a marketing perspective. It's like, "We're going to generate this much." Maybe it's like X amount of revenue for the company and then maybe for your reward, it's like what are we going to do with that money? Are we going to reinvest it and hire more sales people? Are we going to open a new location or whatever? That could be a good way to think about it.

Renia:

It's whatever motivates you. I've seen companies before say like, "If we achieve X goal of new business by this campaign then that's going to be our revenue that we use to hire an agency to go bigger on the next campaign or if we achieve this goal together then everybody is going to get to this conference together that they want to go do or whatever it is. I do think even if it's business versus personal, I do think if you put some kind of reward at the end of it and it's usually not a dollar amount.

 

Most people, everybody wants money. Most people are not actually motivated by money and the science says that monetary incentives don't work very well but if you can come up with a team reward. This can be out of the box. We're doing some stuff where the team rewards are like, "You cook meal for somebody else, or you wash their cars." There's things that we park right by the airstrip at the airport so our cars are really dirty all the time. There's lot of things that you can do. You said you really like the creative side of being a marketing manager. What's your biggest thing that you wish clients knew about what you do or other people that are not marketing managers knew about what you do?

Will:

I don't know. We're on the same team really. Sometimes, and maybe I'm just looking at it from a wrong perspective but we're here. We want to work with you to achieve your success. Honestly, that's what I always have in mind with everything that we're doing. We as marketing managers, we want the business to succeed whether it's our clients at an agency or if you work for a company, I would assume that you want the businesses to succeed. If you're listening, that's what I want you to know. What about you?

Renia:

I think I would want people to know that we are similar to you like we're partners. We care a lot about your success and we feel it personally whether you succeed or fail. It's not an order taker. We're not McDonald's clerks. We really want to be your partner and we care. We don't win if you don't win.

Will:

Exactly.

Renia:

We're here to make things better for you.

Will:

Great.

Renia:

Cool. Tell me a little bit about … If you're a marketing manager and you want to start reaching out to other people. Maybe you need to work more with your sales team. I know we've talked about that a lot or maybe you really need to get a graphic designer in line with you or maybe you want to reach out to customer service and help them solve some of their issues. How do you approach them for that first contact if you've been living out on your own?

Will:

For me, I'm very forward, I think in my communication style and just how I work with teammates and things. I'm usually emailing people because working with clients, they're not here but whether they're in the office next door or if they do work remotely or something, just take the first steps, send that email or walkover and just, "Hey, can I grab your ear for 30 minutes? Let's get a meeting on the books. I want to help you help me and help the company." I don't know. Just take the first step. Start and go from there.

Renia:

Just taking that first step. I think I said last week and I really like it when we're talking about marketing managers. Billie Jean King said something at Inbound that really stuck with me which is “pressure is a gift”. I think that we think about, "Oh, we're so stressed out and there's so much pressure on us." Usually, if you're in a role that has a lot of pressure, it's because you earned that role in some way. Either you demonstrated performance or you went to school. Being in a role that has expectations of you is actually a gift because it means you've done something important. If you don't have any expectations, you're probably an intern.

Will:

That's true.

Renia:

The higher up you go in an organization, in a marketing department, the more pressure is going to be on you but that's a gift if that's what you want to do with your life. Champions see pressure as a gift and use it to get better. That, I think is just been sitting with me a lot.

Will:

That makes sense. I think too maybe the reasoning behind why I'm just so forward to send the email or go next door and reach out is because when you're putting these situations where a lot of pressure is on you and you're in charge of growing the company, things aren't just going to happen for you. You need to make them happen. I'm always trying to be proactive and dictate my circumstances as much as I can instead of letting them dictate my outcomes and my successes. I just say go for it. Start, take charge. You'll figure it out

Renia:

It can be hard because I just feel like a lot of marketing managers especially if you're reporting directly to a CEO. You're not a company that's big enough to have a huge marketing department. There's definitely a power difference between the CEO and the marketing manager. It requires to be really good at that job a little bit of ability to ask for things and do things that are a little bit scary, right?

Will:

For sure. Even given that power difference, if you as a marketing manage take charge and take the first step, then the next step, and you start running and really succeeding and bringing revenue into the company, you can guarantee that your power is going to start to rise. If it's not, you're more valuable and you have to make maybe some new career choices.

Renia:

We’re not telling people to make new career choices.

Will:

Just doing it and you'll get the power and the respect just by your actions and achieving that success.

Renia:

That is one of the cool things about digital. That's actually the reason why I love it so much is digital marketing is right now … It's not 100% but it's pretty good at being a meritocracy meaning you get back what you put in if you're smart about it. It's really hard to hide in digital.

Will:

Everything is trackable.

Renia:

Everything is trackable. Go back and take a look at some of our episodes on eCommerce and reporting and stuff like that. Everything is trackable and so you can start to prove your value in a lot easier way than in some of the softer skills like print advertising or trade shows or something like that. If you're hanging with those social media posts every day, if you can start to prove, how those are relating to leads, it's a lot easier to get the tools that you want.

Will:

Absolutely.

Renia:

Cool. As you're going in to this final quarter of the year, what I want you guys to think about is what is your big initiative for the end of the year and how are you preparing for 2018. It's a two-piece. What are you doing to close the year strong in your marketing department and how are you starting to position yourself for next year because any big digital initiatives you're going to do, they need to be starting to get produced now if they're going to launch for 2018. Anything that you really want to wrap up before the end of the year, you're starting to narrow that timeframe down to do it. Any closing advice that you have about how they can do that?

Will:

Just start, honestly. I mean, you know what to do. The hardest part is just doing it so just start.

Renia:

Cool. We will actually be back with you next week. Matt, and Brady and I are headed out to NetPlus Alliance for a few days so I'm sure we'll have some great things to tell you about from that show, and we will see you guys next week. Don't forget that you can get the transcripts and the videos at growwithsms.com. We would love it if you would leave us a rating or review in iTunes. That really helps the podcast out a lot, and otherwise we will see you guys next week.

Will:

Cool. Take care.

Renia:

Bye.


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